UB Celebrates its 18th Anniversary
The University of Belize held a small ceremony on August 18th at the Belmopan Campus to commemorate its anniversary. In his address to faculty and staff, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat said, “Today, 18 years later on the occasion of our anniversary, it is an appropriate time for pause and reflection by all of us as a community – individually and collectively – on our achievements to date, where we are as a National University and where we are going in the years ahead in advancing our vision.” President Sankat’s complete address was published in the recent issue of UB Imprint and is also available at https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/presidents-statement-on-the-occasion-of-our-18th-anniversary-belmopan/.
The University of Belize Welcomes over 1, 200 New Students
The University of Belize held orientation for the new students that joined UB for the 2018-1 semester. This year the University welcomed 1, 279 new students, and together with the 3, 813 returning students, we have a record number of 5, 092 students.
The Faculty of Education and Arts has 1, 240 students; 1, 975 students are enrolled in the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences; 1, 121 are in the Faculty of Science and Technology; and the Faculty of Nursing, Allied Health and Social Work has 692. The University of Belize also has option for Adult Continuing Education (ACE) and Transient which 62 students chose.
UB Receives Visit from High Ranking Officials of the Technical Cooperation Program of the International Atomic Energy Agency
The Deputy Director General of Technical Cooperation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr. Dazhu Yang, and the Section Head of Technical Cooperation for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Saul Perez Pijuan, visited the University of Belize on August 6, 2018. They met with Dr. Mariot Simon, Dr. Abel Carrias, Dr. Aaron Lewis and Mr. Jair Valladarez. Dr. Yang and Mr. Perez were updated on the two projects that IAEA has funded at UB. They also toured the laboratory housing the equipment donated by IAEA.
The University of Belize, through the Faculty of Science and Technology, has benefited from two IAEA TCP projects: BZE7001 “Using Nuclear Techniques for Geological Applications and Environmental Monitoring of Soil and Water” and BZE7002 “Strengthening National Capacity for Measuring and Monitoring Marine Pollution and Studying the Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Ecosystems”.
Project BZE7001 was completed in 2017 and through it equipment for detection of radiation (Portable Radon – Thoron Analyzer in soil, air and water) and an experimental kit for gamma spectrometry and radiation monitoring were obtained. This equipment will be used by the Physics Program for teaching purposes to demonstrate the use of nuclear based equipment in environmental research applications.
Project BZE7002 is ongoing and will be completed in 2018. Project BZE7002 has focused on building human and laboratory capacity at the University of Belize; for subsequently applying nuclear technology to perform studies and monitoring of aquatic environmental pollutants. Laboratory capacity for water quality analysis, organochlorine pesticide residue analysis and ocean acidification research will be established under this project.
In related news, the University of Belize is happy to report that a concept paper submitted by Dr. Abel Carrias for TCP cycle 2020-2021 has been approved for the next stage in project design and is undergoing full project proposal design. Although funds are not guaranteed, acceptance to the full proposal phase is a milestone in the project funding process of the IAEA TCP.
84 International Students will be Studying at RLC
The Regional Language Center held an orientation ceremony for the students who will be pursuing a Certificate in English as a Second Language for the academic year on August 10, 2018. RLC’s Director, Mr. Noe Agreda, along with faculty members welcomed the students to the University of Belize. This year the RLC will host a record number of 84 students from Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Republic of China (Taiwan).
UB Lecturer Mr. Leonard Mortis Represents UB in Technical Exchange on Disaster Management
Mr. Leonard Mortis, Chair of the Science Department in the Faculty of Science and Technology, participated in a Technical Exchange on Disaster Management in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA during July 24-26, 2018. This three-day event was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in Latin America and the Caribbean Region (USAI/OFDA/LAC). This was in conjunction with the Regional Disaster Assistance Program (RDAP), whose principal objective is enhancing the capacities of institutions in an effort to reduce community risk through the strengthening of their resilience to disasters.
The program was facilitated by the Louisiana State University’s (LSU), Stephenson Disaster Management Institute (SDMI) and involved 14 participants from institutions of Higher Education from Latin America and the Caribbean.
As expounded by T.M. Callahan and B.Michell of USAID/OFDA/LAC and LSU respectively, the major focus during the exchange was looking at … ”ways to incorporate Integrated Disaster Risk Management (IDRM) in the university structure through development of internal security programs, evacuation plans, hazard simulations and institutional emergency operations center and other administration structures to help respond to disasters when they occur.”
During the training, participants had the opportunity on several occasion to combine classroom presentations and discussions with visits to locations within the City of Baton Rouge linked to LSU and SDMI to understand and appreciate how best practices are applied in the field.
The greatest takeaway from this experience, according to Mr. Mortis, was that Flagship/National Universities must lead in research and education in regards to disaster management. Universities through their programs and faculty must lend their academic expertise to the needs of the disaster management community such as NEMO, CEMO’s and other allied Ministries and NGO’s.
To this end, in late August Mrs. Beryl Armbrister, RDAP Sub-Regional Manager (Caribbean), will be in Belize for the extension of talks to expand on, and to provide technical support on potential collaboration and expression of interest from the University of Belize in projects for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) small grant program.
Joining this discussion will be Mr. Jose Zuniga, of the Ministry of Education and Belize’s Disaster Risk Management Specialist (DRMS) for USAID/OFDA/LAC. This discourse should lead to strengthening the capacity of the University of Belize towards full integration with the disaster management community in emergency and disaster preparation, prevention, response, recovery and mitigation. This will also offer the prospect for income generation for the university and increase brand recognition.
Mr. Mortis thanks the Office of the President for the opportunity to attend the exchange and representing the University of Belize.
UB President Assumes Leadership of the Council of Central American Universities CSUCA
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat has assumed the Presidency of Consejo Superior Universitario Centroamericano (CSUCA – Central American Higher Education Council) for this academic year (July, 2018 – June, 2019).
CSUCA is the Council of Higher Education Institutions in Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama and is based in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
President Sankat chaired his first meeting on August 6-7, 2018 at the Autonomous University of Chiriqui (Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí – UNACHI) in David, Panama. While there, he also attended the installation for a second term of the “Rectora” (President) of UNACHI, Ethelvina M. de Bonogas.
In his welcome address (available at https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/cxii-112th-meeting-of-csuca/), he reminded those present that our Universities, “shape a new destiny of wellness and sustainability of our countries through education and training and research and knowledge dissemination. Peace, Progress and Prosperity should be the watchwords of all our countries and our Universities have a vital role to facilitate such understandings.”
The Council also issued a statement on the social unrest in Nicaragua and encouraged the authorities to re-establish dialogue and peace. This statement can be seen at https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/declaration-of-support-for-the-people-of-nicaragua/ as well as a statement from the Student Governments of CSUCA (Federación de Estudiantes Universitarios de Centro América y el Caribe (FEUCA)) which available at https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/declaration-of-support-for-the-people-of-nicaragua/.
It is proposed that the 113th Session of CSUCA will be hosted by the University of Belize in March 2019.
Taiwanese Students Visit and Assist at the Punta Gorda Campus
Thirteen student volunteers from National Tsing Hua University, Republic of China (Taiwan), made their second annual visit to UB’s Punta Gorda Campus last week. They conducted a summer camp training in computer technology at Julian Cho Technical High in the Toledo District. They also visited with management of Claver College Extension in Punta Gorda Town, made a short presentation to students at UB – Toledo Campus, featuring their country and the volunteer work they do in Cayo and Toledo Districts. The Taiwanese volunteers also engaged in a brief cultural exchange session with our Business students and had the opportunity to visit a nearby farm located just outside of Punta Gorda Town. They also donated materials in support of our on-going painting project.
The Work has started for the India-Belize Center for Engineering (IBCE) in the Belmopan Campus
A ground breaking ceremony was held for the IBCE building at the Belmopan Campus on August 2, 2018. Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat in his address (available at https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/remarks-at-ground-breaking-of-the-india-belize-center-for-engineering-building/), outlined the history of the the project and how it is finally coming to reality. He also shared with the audience the Engineering equipment the Government of India is donating, which amounts to approximately BZ $ 1.09 million (FOB).
Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs) were signed last year December, 20th between the Government of Belize (GOB) and the Government of India (GOI) and between the Government of Belize (GOB) and University of Belize (UB) – a three-way partnership for what is called the ‘India/Belize Centre for Engineering”, IBCE Project.
Belize Essentials Limited of Belmopan has been contracted to build the three buildings to host the workshop facility. One building will house two class rooms/offices/restrooms and the other two for the Workshops/Lab equipment. The buildings are expected to be completed by the end of November, 2018.
At the ceremony were the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim, Senior Managers of UB, representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health and the Association of Professional Engineers of Belize were present. Pastor Lance Lewis dedicated the grounds.
The University of Belize Strengthens Partnership with Love FM
The University of Belize signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Love FM on August 16th to foster the advancement of the country’s tertiary level education, through subsidized promotions, collaboration in the development of innovative marketing strategies, training and capacity building for employees of both institutions.
The partnership will also firmly establish UB as the hub for communication education in Belize, by creating a unique partnership with Love Foundation where students can obtain practical, hands on experience in media to complement their studies at the University. The two organizations will leverage each other’s strengths to ensure a successful joint venture delivering, uncompromising standards and techniques in communication.
UB and NICH: Partnership in History
The University of Belize and the National Institute of Culture and History, On August 15th signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on matters of education, history and culture. The MoU focuses on institutional cooperation, where both parties will be partnering to make research and education more dynamic. It is a collaboration that will see resources, knowledge, data and information shared between the two institutions, which will not only help strengthen common interests and missions of UB and NICH, but ultimately help in nation building.
UB Students Win Medals at the 2018 North American Powerlifting Regional Championships
The North American Powerlifting Regional Championships were held in Mexico City from August 1, 2018 to August 4, 2018. Two UB students Khalid Usher (FST) and Ryan Bood Usher (FEA) were members of Team Belize. Khalid Usher won bronze in his category and Ryan Bood Usher won two gold medals in his category. In doing so, Ryan set a North American Power Lifting record. He also won the Best Overall Junior Lifter Trophy.
These two young men with UB FST student Kevin Aké have also contributed to the creation of Belize’s Powerlifting Association (BPA) which is recognized by the Belize Sports Council and the International Powerlifting Association. Kevin Aké is the current BPA President. Students interested in this sport can meet these trailblazing students at our annual Belmopan Semester Kick Off scheduled August 29, 2018. Congratulations Kevin, Ryan and Khalid!
Professor Sankat Meets with Representatives of the People’s United Party
On August 16th, 2018 Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat as well as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees met with the People’s United Party’s Hon. Johnny Briceño, Hon. Francis Fonseca and Stuart Leslie. At this meeting, the President, along with his Academic Chairs and Heads of Departments, presented the University’s Strategic Plan, Transformation Leap: Vision 2022, to the team of the Opposition leader. Topics discussed were the role of the University in Belize’s national development, the expanded capacities and resources the University needs to address current and future development challenges, as well as the strategies needed for its development in a global context and positioning the University for high performance including Accreditation.
This meeting provided a valuable networking opportunity for the University of Belize, as the PUP representatives pledged their full support to the national University and is one that further sets the stage for future cooperation between the University and its key stakeholders.
Punta Gorda Campus Undergoes Repairs
The Punta Gorda Campus has been undergoing physical renovation these past months. There were ceiling repairs, working on the Student Center, entrance of Administration building and repairing of AC unit in the Computer Lab. Toledo Campus Administrator Mr. Roy Polonio spearheaded these projects and received support from the Town Council and business partners, as well as from the Office of the President, UB.
Professor Sankat congratulates Mr. Polonio for the excellent work.
President meets with Assistant Professors
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat met with the Assistant Professors of the University of Belize on August 2. He mentored and encouraged them at the start of the academic year so that they can grow and develop themselves in teaching and research. He emphasized this was the group of Faculty that had to lead the UB’s Research effort and that the Research and Post Graduate Committee that has been established will also help to drive this effort. He also mentioned that the Institutional Advancement Office was there to help support the applications for research grants.
Professor Sankat also acknowledged the presence of Professor Dr. Thippi Thiagarajan, Chair of the Research Committee and UB’s first Professor.
UB Leaders Met to Reflect on the Way Forward at President’s Retreat
The 1st President’s Retreat was intended to be a time to reflect and a time for leaders to share their plans for Academic Year 2018/19 for their respective areas. Participants were encouraged to openly engage each other, in an informal setting; the President encouraged all to focus around the larger developmental issues and the progressive changes that we expect to see in all of the University’s Faculties, Institutes, Centres, and Administration.
The top administrative priority for the University of Belize for the upcoming year is the transformation of the University’s HR policies, procedures, and practices. Last year’s top priority as repeated but the President was the balancing of the budget, which falls as this year’s close second. Other priorities for the University for this upcoming year include improving the academic programs to be made more attractive and marketable; advancing the cause of research and innovation; creating a more student-centred Institution; and creating an environment that is more conducive for our staff/faculty/ students and visitors and one befitting that of a respected University.
Leaders presented their plans for 2018/19 and there was considerable discussion and enthusiasm for these. Cross-functional areas were also identified that can strengthen UB’s offerings. The President expressed his pleasure with the deliberations of the day, one which augured well for the future of the University of Belize.
President Sankat meets with Mrs. Karen Ysaguirre-Lewis from Scotiabank
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat along with Mr. Arnulfo Kantun, Business Development Officer, met with Mrs. Karen Ysaguirre-Lewis, Director, Retail and Small Business Banking at Scotiabank on August 2, 2018.
The purpose of the meeting was to develop partnerships for mutual success.